Stonehill Summer Picks
July 06, 2010
by Lauren Daley '05
When the mercury rises and the sun beats down, it's time to pack a stack of good books and head to the beach, the deck or your favorite reading spot.
We asked Stonehill staff and faculty what they're reading this summer. We got some great books and something for everyone-whether you love biographies, juicy novels, political nonfiction, or historical fiction. Take a look...
Pat Anzelmo (Human Resources) and Ann Coulter, (Controller's Office), both loved New York Times Bestseller The Help, (2009) by Katheryn Stockett.
It's the story of three women living in segregated Mississippi in the 1960s-a white, college-educated aspiring journalist, and two black maids who tell her their stories in an attempt to start a movement.
"This book truly touched my heart simply because it has made me realize what it was like to be black during the civil rights movement in the 1960s," said Anzelmo. "This book grabbed my emotions. I couldn't stop thinking about it and I couldn't wait to finish it."
Religious Studies Professor Rev. Rick Gribble, C.S.C., suggests The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824, (2010) by Harvey Sachs.
Part biography, part history, part memoir, The Ninth explores the intricacies of Beethoven's last symphony.
"It's about how Beethoven wrote his most joyful and powerful symphony when Vienna was basically in a state of dictatorship," Fr. Gribble said. "Sachs does his work in a very readable and enjoyable way."
English Professor Andrea Opitz and Campus Police Officer Andrea Barry both hail City of Thieves, (2008) by David Benioff.
A writer visits his grandparents in Florida to document their experience during the infamous siege of Leningrad. His grandfather reluctantly consents, and the result is the captivating story of two young men trying to survive against desperate odds.
Business Administration Professor Rick Anderson suggests A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers, (2009) by Lawrence McDonald and Patrick Robinson.
Direct from McDonald, Lehman Brothers Vice President, comes the inside story of the bank that smashed the world economy. The story is one of greed, misjudgments, and plain stupidity.
Sociology Professor Patricia Leavy is reading Andre Agassi's autobiography, Open (2009).
"I love a good autobiography-especially celebrity autobiographies which can be really fun," Leavy said.
"Right away, Agassi brings you behind the curtain of what it means to be a professional athlete-the pain, the training, the isolation. Second, he convinces you that, surprisingly, he really hates tennis. It's a fun, informative and surprising read."
For Jean Hamler (Institutional Research) her summer reading list includes Other People's Children: Cultural Conflict in the Classroom, (1995) by Lisa Delpit.
Delpit, a Mac Arthur Award-winning author, examines the controversial issue of race and cultural clashes in the classroom. Delpit tells us that most of the problems attributed to children of color are actually the result of miscommunication, as schools and minority children often struggle with the imbalance of power and the dynamics of inequality plaguing the American school system.
For political junkies, Communication Professor Jack Jackson and J.P. Kitson (Videography) recommend Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, (2010) by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.
From interviews with over 200 sources, two seasoned political journalists portray scenes inside the primary and general election campaigns of all the major players in 2008's presidential sweepstakes. Beyond the people referenced in the title, the book covers a cast of characters including John Edwards, Joe Biden, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the national press.
Shannon McDonough (Web Office) recommends Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite, (2009) by Frank Bruni.
"As a wanna-be-foodie I am always interested in the places where the media and the food worlds intersect," said McDonough '96.
"I read Frank Bruni's New York Times restaurant reviews with anticipation when he was in that role because he wrote beautifully and insightfully," she said. "‘Born Round' is very funny, easy to read, voyeuristic but mostly, really well-written and I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in writing, food, fitness, family, the world of journalism or body-image and weight struggle and triumph."
Business Administration Professor Geoff Lantos recommends A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie, And Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life, (2010) by Antwone Fisher.
"This book is filled with practical life lesson about daily routines- many learned the hard way- by the author, Antwone Fisher, in transitioning from an urban slum to the navy," Lantos said.
"Fisher tells readers how to polish shoes, eat well, shave without butchering your face, and iron a shirt, among other things. Many of his ideas about looking neat and presentable are ignored in today's too-casual world. The book is part memoir, part how-to tips for young men trying to "grow up" and succeed, and so would be valuable for college men," Lantos said. "I'm recommending my son, who attends Stonehill, read it."
Religious Studies Professor Gregory Shaw recommends The 40 Rules of Love, (2010) by Elif Shafak.
"It's a novel about the Persian poet/mystic Rumi, his spiritual friend Shams, juxtaposed with a contemporary story of a loveless woman in Northhampton," said Shaw.
American housewife Ella Rubenstein is 40 and unhappily married when she takes a job as a reader for a literary agent. Her first assignment is to read a novel by Aziz Zahara. Zahara's novel tells of the search for Rumi. Mesmerized by his tale, Ella reaches out to Aziz.
Communications Professor Anne Mattina enjoyed Good to a Fault, (2008) by Marina Endicott.
"It's one of the best I've read this summer," Mattina said. "The central character, Clara Purdy, is a 42-year-old single woman whose life is changed completely as the result of a car accident for which she is responsible. The other car is home for the Gage family, who end up living with her."
Communications Professor Maureen Boyle and Ashley Sullivan, (Advancement), both recommend Sarah's Key, (2007) by Tatiana de Rosnay.
"Sarah's Key is a thoughtful-and fast-read, perfect for the beach or sitting on the back deck," Boyle said. "It has depth and puts a face to the horror of the Holocaust. It is a book you can't put down."
The story starts in Paris, 1942, when 10-year-old Sarah is brutally arrested with her family by the French police- but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Sixty years later, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about the round-up. In her investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah.
Liza Talusan of Intercultural Affairs loved Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and The Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen, (2009) by Christopher McDougall.
"This past year, I made a commitment to train for, and complete, a half-marathon," Talusan said. "Running pals recommended Born to Run, promising me that once I started the book, I would be afraid to put it down. They were right.
"This is a story of the Tarahumara, a reclusive tribe in Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons who ‘run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner,'" Talusan said.
"Whether you are a seasoned athlete or someone who thinks working out is punishment, Born To Run is a fantastic read, an inspirational story, and a beautiful tribute to the cultural pursuit of simplicity."
Doug Smith (Development) is a fan of Ted Williams, (2004) by Leigh Montville.
Drawing upon hundreds of interviews, and with his own passion, acclaimed sportswriter Leigh Montville-formerly of The Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated- brings to life Williams' triumphs, tragedies and intense personality in his biography of "The Kid.
"When I think of summer I always think of baseball," Smith said. "This is a ‘cradle-to-grave' look at Ted Williams, who played for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 to 1960. One of the more interesting points of the book is the season he hit .406 (no one has come close since) in 1941 and then was off to war in 1943."
We could only profile a sampling of all the book choices we received, but, to see the full list, visit here.
Happy reading this summer.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.